Happy Publication Day!

Today is the day MARRYING MARI is published by Samhain in a paperback edition. Whoo-hoo!

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Want the softcover edition? You can order here from Samhain and here from Amazon and here from Barnes & Noble.

Want the e-book? You can order here from Samhain/e-book, here from Amazon/Kindle and here from Barnes & Noble/Nook… the e-version is still available.

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Responses to MARRYING MARI

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With the paperback edition coming out from Samhain Publishing on September 3, I thought I’d post some of the comments I loved from the e-book reviews.

“I absolutely loved the way the three are introduced to each other…. The added twist of The Colony was a unique way to explain why [the two heroes] needed a third, and how it was acceptable. The imagination of the author on this point was awesome…. Once I started reading this book I couldn’t stop, and I’ve since re-read it twice, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything! Brava to Ms. Snow for a fabulous page turning read, that I’ll be sure to re-read again, and again. I can’t wait til I pick up another book by her.” — Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

“MARRYING MARI is an interesting and fun read with unique characters and at times humorous situations… Ethan and Gabriel are very much their own men and being dictated to doesn’t sit well with either of them so I love that they get together with Mari who isn’t what their society deems `appropriate’….. Mari is one super cool chick who isn’t going to let anyone walk all over her…. MARRYING MARI is a book that brings about a riot of emotions along with sheer pleasure in how Ethan, Gabriel and Mari stand united in the face of so much opposition.” — Romance Junkies

“…the story really had some remarkable ups and downs which created a propelling plot line. This is a story I could see having a sequel, especially featuring some of the secondary characters and I would happily read it.” — Long and Short Reviews

You can pre-order from Samhain (with a discount) here, or Amazon here.

Most romantic film #67: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

This is a very traditional romantic comedy in the British mode with an untraditional message. It is a fun, funny and poignant film with great style that introduced American audiences to Hugh Grant, Simon Callow, Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas and John Hannah… at least in memorable roles in a popular movie.

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There are several plot threads in the story. The main plot involves Charles (Grant) and his on-again/off-again affair with Carrie (Andie MacDowell), an American that he meets at wedding #1.

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Other plots involve the hitching of Tom (James Fleet) and his cousin Deirdre, two aristos who are both socially awkward; the hitching of my favorite character Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman) and Chester, another American; the love affair of Gareth (Callow) and Matthew (Hannah), which ends in the single funeral, which is one of the most moving scenes in the picture, due to Hannah’s performance.

Mostly this is “winsome,” as one critic stated. Or, to employ sort-of synonyms, charming, delightful, clever and ticklish. It plays with the stereotypes of British aristocracy: awkward, reserved, clannish, inarticulate and gives them a smart;y sharp twist to reveal a group of friends who are going through one of the last of the growing-up rituals: marriage and death.

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After all, you see, it is about growing up. About a group of friends–Charles, Scarlett, Tom, Gareth and Fiona–who are meeting their future mates and bringing them into the inner circle, while watching other friends (not quite inside the circle) get hitched and move away, into the adult pre-occupations of marriage, homemaking, pregnancy and raising children. Even death. In the end, each “friend” has to deal with moving into this adult world, finding his or her own way.

And (spoiler!) the “conventional” characters are boring.

Charles (Grant) and Carrie are the last. Carrie marries the Wrong Man first, someone too old, too settled and stable, too conventional. Charles is confronted by former girlfriends who indict him as a serial commitment-phobe, a Dater who breaks up when things get serious. Charles finally “commits” to marrying the Wrong Woman, and must, to right this bad choice, find his own way to commitment, a way that suits both him and Carrie.

Underneath, this film suggests there are a variety of ways to Happy Coupledom. Even perhaps that “marriage” is a flexible term between two people. (Suggesting gay marriage this early? Yes.)

It is a loving look at the scary reality of adult relationships, ones that require commitment of the long-term kind (including parenthood).

Most romantic film #66: Body Heat (1981)

I’m not certain this is a “romantic” film per se, but it is a sexy film noir that launched the careers of actress Kathleen Turner and writer-director Lawrence Kasden, with a nod to the soon-to-be stars Mickey Rourke and Ted Danson.

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If that seems a lot for one film, this is a big movie.

I hadn’t seen BODY HEAT in a long time but watched it recently, and it is a really, really good film noir mystery.

William Hurt plays Ned Racine, a small-town lawyer in a small Florida Coast town. It is quickly clear that his morals and ethics are loose and adaptable.

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He meets Matty Walker (Turner), the sexy young wife of a rich businessman. Matty is bored and lonely, since her husband is always off on business. She and Ned begin an erotic affair that turns into love. But Matty can’t leave her husband because of a terrific pre-nup that leaves her with nothing — so she suggests that they, she and Ned, kill him.

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Here’s where we meet Mickey Rourke, as a young bombmaker who is one of Ned’s former clients. Teddy (Rourke) builds Ned a bomb.

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Ned’s best friend is the local D.A., played by Danson. Peter Lowenstein (Danson) begins to suspect something.

And so the film unrolls. Cleverly. Compellingly.

When I saw this ‘way back in 1981, I remember being struck by the young Mickey Rourke. He was electric on screen. The next film I saw him in was DINER — same deal. This is a fun film because it is sexy, intriguing, twisty and sophisticated. Couple it with another Kasden film (like THE BIG CHILL) or an earlier film noir like DOUBLE INDEMNITY. Mmm. Then be glad you don’t know anyone like Matty.

From Talking with the Dead, my new tale

Evie had made me promise not only to visit Detective Munro but Henri Van Roekel as well. With a slightly different message. And I was pretty sure it would be received about as well as the first one.

After a few minutes, the door opened and Henri Van Roekel entered. I knew it was him because of the recent pictures in the media splashing the scandal of Evie’s murder around.

But for the second time in one day I got knocked off balance by a man.

Another  really, really good-looking sexy man.

This one had the good manners my gran’mère taught me: he offered me a seat and refreshment before sitting down himself. Obviously he was controlling his curiosity about this unexpected visit, although he gave me a thorough glance. I was glad I had worn the Calvin Klein.

“How is Edith?” he asked. He had a startling voice, smooth and rich. Seductive.

Wow. Thank God he wasn’t selling cars, I thought. I’d buy three.

“She’s fine,” I said.

“Good. I haven’t seen her in a long time. She’s always been one of my favorite people.”

“I’ll tell her you said so.” Really? My gran’mère Edith was one of his favorite people? Huh?

“So how can I help you, Lily?” His voice was tremendous. No wonder women threw themselves at him.

“Ahh.” How to begin? “I was sorry to read about your recent, uh, troubles.”

A shadow passed over his face. Suddenly, there was a subtle but definite distance between us. “Thank you.”

“Here’s the thing,” I began, dithering. Oh, to hell with it. “I have a message for you from Evie Rockfort.”

His head snapped up so fast it was a blur. “Really?” That’s when I got the hard scrutiny from behind the wire-rims. Eyes the color of a June sky studied me with clarity and precision. They shouldn’t have suited the pale copper skin and neither should the golden too-long waves combed straight back from his forehead.  A sort of Oxford don-slash-California surfer dude. Somehow together they created an incredibly stunning appearance.

Behind the cool blue eyes was a first-class brain currently dissecting me. Which made me completely and embarrassingly hot. I felt my nipples perk up. WTF?

He sat back, still staring at me. “Do tell me Evie’s message.”

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Most romantic film #65: The Way We Were (1973)

The mother of all tearjerker love stories for a generation of baby boomers, THE WAY WE WERE was a star vehicle for Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, directed by Sydney Pollack (They Shoot Horses, Don’t They, Tootsie, Out of Africa, The Firm).

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Streisand had already made Funny Girl and Hello, Dolly, but The Way We Were was a more dramatic role, where she did not sing. She plays Katie Morosky, a politically active Marxist Jew in 1930s & 40s America who meets and falls in love with Hubbell Gardiner, a WASP with no interest in politics.

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Redford had been knocking around for a decade in minor vehicles, but in the 1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid he finally got critics’ attention. The Way We Were was probably his next truly popular movie and framed him not only as the romantic lead but as eye candy. Streisand’s character crushes on Hubbell, who is definitely a pretty, pretty boy; the problem is their outlook on politics, life and America.

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The movie tells the story of their love affair, marriage and break-up set against the background of the 1930s and its class issues. Katie objects to Hubbell’s WASP-y friends who don’t do anything but play tennis and drink cocktails, while Hubbell gets exhausted by Katie’s constant hammering of Marxism for unions and rights for workers. Hubbell is a gifted writer, one of the things that attracts Katie to him, but he opts for Hollywood, which Katie considers is a waste of his talent. The relationship between then is poignantly depicted: two people who love each other but cannot live together.

Singer and Actress Barbra Streisand with Actor Robert Redford

The title song of the piece was, of course, sung by Streisand (songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch) and became a huge popular hit. Think Celine Dion and “My Heart Will Go On.” (Hello, Oscars 2013!)

It’s the last scene that gets me: the little hair flip, the hug, the regret.

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Ultimately, Pollock, Streisand and Redford do a great job, although critics didn’t like it. Audiences loved it. I would suggest watching this in a double bill with Casablanca or Out of Africa, accompanied by a good red wine and caramel chocolate chunk ice cream. And bring the tissues.

Most romantic film #64: LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE (1992)

I had forgotten about this book and film until I wrote about LOVE’S KITCHEN last week. But like most people (I think) I like to mix up my cooking, my film watching, and my romantic interaction.

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The story is set in Mexico, around the revolution, but focuses on the forbidden love between Tita and Pedro. Tita can cook “magically,” meaning that her emotions find their way into her cooking and affect the people eating it.

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She loves Pedro but is forbidden to marry him because of a family tradition. Which sets of a chain of events that flow through and beyond the Mexican Revolution.

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The novel was in the style of magical realism, and included recipes for Mexican foods incorporated into the story of Tita. The combination of recipes, food and romance was very sensual in its execution, but the novel also embraced a feminist message not often found in popular novels coming from Latin America. LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE is a love story, a cookbook, a fantasy and a feminist fable all in one — although not all of that translates into the film. The film is rated R, and very sensual throughout. The imagery is beautiful.

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Most romantic film #63: Out of Sight (1998)

I love this film.

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Based on a story by Elmore Leonard and directed by Stephen Soderbergh, this film is interesting for a few reasons.

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Like this is the first collaboration between Soderbergh and George Clooney, followed by all three Ocean films starring the actor.It was also one of the most successful films Lopez made as an actor, unlikethe rom-coms she made following this. It was also a comeback of sorts for the director, whose film sex, lies and videotape had not been followed by real commercial success. It also brought Clooney and Soderbergh into collaboration with Don Cheadle.

The main thread of the film follows the budding romance between Jack Foley (Clooney), a convict and bank robber, and Karen Sisco (Lopez) a U.S. Marshall tasked with recapturing Foley after he breaks out of a Florida prison.

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They meet during the breakout, when Foley and Sisco end up in the trunk of a stolen car driven by Buddy. They… get to know one another.

The supporting players are Foley’s BFF Buddy, their ticket-to-riches Ripley, and various other criminals, ranging from the evil Maurice (Cheadle) to the foolish Glenn (Steve Zahn). There is also Dennis Farina as Karen’s dad and an early appearance by Viola Davis as Maurice’s wife.

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The twists and turns of the story are smart and intriguing, and the attraction/chemistry between Lopez and Clooney is H.O.T. Lopez’s Karen is a tough babe, a gorgeous woman holding her own in a world of men. Clooney’s Jack is a smart guy with impulse issues but no real badness. Their attraction is as puzzling to them as it is clear to us.

This is a stylish and scary thriller with romance as a compelling savory sauce. I highly recommend it.

Valentine’s Day… visuals

This is often how I feel…

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My deepest relationship is with my computer (which has an odd resemblance to Thing here, of the old Addams Family TV show).

Of course, there’s the warning:

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And… not so much.

My taste runs a little to this, 1348429056017_cached

or this,

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The Cat would like me to bring home one of these:

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Nice fireman.

But I think I’ll have to settle for this:

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Unconditional love… and kibble.

Most romantic film #62: Catch & Release (2006)

Since it is Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d throw out another romantic comedy I really like, one that few have seen, if I don’t miss my guess. This is the 2006 film, CATCH & RELEASE starring Jennifer Garner and Timothy Olyphant.

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Fair warning: I am head over heels for Olyphant. I fell for him as the heroic and conflicted Sheriff Seth Bullock in DEADWOOD and now I just glue myself to the TV every week for the FX series JUSTIFIED, where he plays U.S Marshal Raylan Givens. Oh, Lordie. Serious crush.

Olyphant as Bullock

Olyphant as Bullock

Olyphant as Givens

Olyphant as Givens

I also like Garner, who is a charming and talented actress.

Okay. CATCH & RELEASE is a simple film about a woman mourning her fiance, who was killed on the eve of their wedding (in a stupid bachelor’s party idea gone wrong). Garner’s character Gray is bereft when Grady dies, and finds her life overturned by the non-marriage: the house they rented, the friends they shared, the life they would have lived are impossible for her. She moves into his room with his friends Dennis (Sam Jaeger) who was also Grady’s business partner, and Sam (Kevin Smith), who writes copy for Celestial Seasonings teas. The third amigo Fritz (Olyphant) is a commercial director in L.A., visiting for the wedding/funeral. Dennis is in love with Gray (Garner), Sam is a determind under-achiever, and Fritz is a player who is both attracted to Gray and privy to a secret that Grady kept from Gray.

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Eventually, the secret shows up, in the form of a masseuse (Juliette Lewis) and her son, who she claims was Grady’s kid. All parties (including Grady’s mother, played by Fiona Shaw) must face up to the truth and their feelings and get on with life without Grady.

Which means Fritz and Gray have to resolve their anger, attraction and confusion.

Garner is beautiful and charming in the role of the heartbroken fiancee who discovers that her future husband was an unknown kind of guy. Despite her natural beauty, the film doesn’t bank on it but allows Garner to do more than look pretty. Olyphant is good in the role of player, as if he was a shallow guy who didn’t care about much. We find out he cares about a great deal, and has depths no one really noticed.

If there is a flaw in this film, it is Lewis’s portrayal of some kind of New Age freak. Her Maureen–apparently in contrast to Gray’s depth and realness–is a flighty, shallow, silly woman who I wouldn’t trust with a Chihuahuha, let alone a smart and funny child. Yikes!

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Ignore all that (and the unreality of the love story with Sam) and pay attention to the spine of the film. This is a little gem that suggests we all have secrets and shady sides, but can be loved and lovable nonetheless.